Last year’s historic protests against racist police violence has brought more attention to the traditional Black holiday, Juneteenth.
What’s the Story with Juneteenth?
Celebrated on June 19th each year, Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and informed the last remaining Black slaves that they were free—and that they had been for almost two years, since the Emancipation Proclamation.
Since the late 1800s, Black Americans have used Juneteenth as an opportunity to honor past and current struggles, educating communities about Black history and culture, and highlighting the achievements of Black Americans, often in conjunction with parades, cookouts, and other celebratory activities.
The rest of the country has been slower to get on board, but 47 of the 50 United States now officially recognize the holiday. Wisconsin officially named Juneteenth a state holiday in 2009, but was actually the first Northern state to officially celebrate Juneteenth (thanks, Milwaukee!) beginning in 1971.
How Can I Honor Juneteenth?
Actions (and dollars) speak louder than words. There are countless ways you can show your support for Juneteenth in your own community and from home, including:
- Paint a wooden craft at Juneteenth Paint Night @ Alice’s Garden on Saturday, June 19th, 5-9pm
- Cheer on the parade at the Juneteenth Day Parade & Celebration on Saturday, June 19th, 8am-4pm
- Appreciate youth talent at Safe and Sound’s 2nd Annual Virtual Juneteenth Event on Saturday, June 19th, 10am-2pm
- Set up a monthly recurring donation to local Black organizers: Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wisconsin, and more
Organize: The Next Step
If the learning, spending, and acting have you feeling called to do more for your community, consider joining WiLD’s leadership development workshops.